Tusculum celebrates 225th anniversary with time capsule

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Feb 11, 2020 at 7:51 PM

GREENEVILLE — Tusculum University placed a time capsule in a wall of the Meen Center Tuesday morning as part of the celebration of the institution’s 225th anniversary.

Members of the Tusculum campus community will open the time capsule 100 years from now to take a look at the mementos inside. 

“About 100 years from now, people will look back and we’ll see how much we progressed,” Dr. Greg Nelson, Tusculum’s acting president, said.

The capsule contains letters from students describing campus life, editions of Tusculum magazine and Tusculum Review, Old Oak Festival T-shirts, a laptop, Tusculum news releases, banners, notepads and lapel pins, many of which are given to the first-generation college students that make up much of the institution’s student body. Wine glasses used during a June 2018 celebration marking the institution's transition from Tusculum College to Tusculum University were also included in the capsule.

“I placed in the academic catalog from our centennial celebration, which happened 125 years ago,” Nelson also pointed out. “When it’s opened again, that particular catalog will be 225 years old, which is a nice way to celebrate our 225th anniversary.”

Some of the letters in the capsule include those from Golden Pioneer Paul Lawless, who corresponded with his mother when he was a student at Tusculum 50 years ago. 

“It’s kind of a nice look back in history at what the campus would’ve been like 50 years ago,” Nelson said, adding that the items will give the Tusculum community a chance to “look back into our past and continue to tell our story.”

While a lot has changed at Tusculum, Nelson said the institution’s basic mission remains the same. 

He said the state’s oldest higher education institution was originally founded to educate young men and women to “take advantage of the natural resources of the Appalachian region and East Tennessee so that Tusculum graduates would be part of the economic development of East Tennessee.”

In recent years, Tusculum has increased its focus on science, technology, engineering and math education, as well as business education and teacher education programs to help meet the public education needs of the state.

And there are more changes to come at Tusculum.

Next week, Scott Hummel, provost and executive vice president of Mississippi’s William-Carey University, will officially begin his tenure as Tusculum’s new president. Nelson will remain on the Board of Trustees. 

“We’re extremely excited to have new leadership on campus here, and we’re looking forward to continuing progress under his leadership,” Nelson said.  

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